NAME: Kiona
COUNTY: Benton
CLIMATE: Mild winters and hot summers
COMMENTS: Kiona lost its post office about thirty-five years ago, yet maintains a small population. Access is easy via paved roads, just off I-82. What's left of the town is nestled at the base of the Horse Heaven Hills across the Yakima River from its larger neighbor, Benton City.
REMAINS: Building of I-82, about thirty+ years ago wiped out Kiona's business section, but three prominent, old residences remain.
In the 1890's Kiona was a bustling town and railroad stop with many stores and saloons. Its economy was fed by the extensive grain fields atop the Horse Heaven Hills. If one looks to the east of the current grade up the hills (McBee Grade), a second grade can be seen. This is the remains of the old wagon road down which heavy wagons laden with wheat would be driven. I spoke to an elderly gentleman, many years ago, who used to drive those wagons led by many teams of horses. It was a very dangerous, yet thrilling, experience! I have hiked that old road a number of times, and although washed out in many places from numerous floods, occasionally wagon wheel ruts could be seen. The old trail begins just east of the new grade, a little beyond the canal and zigzags once to the visible part of the old grade. Please respect private property owners before attempting a hike, and watch out for rattlesnakes! After the turn of the nineteenth century to the twentieth, more people began to homestead on the north side of the Yakima River and Kiona's importance began to fade. The school was moved to the new community of Benton City in the early part of the twentieth century. The few commercial establishments left in Kiona were obliterated with the coming of the freeway in the late sixties or early seventies. The school system is still called Kiona-Benton City. Submitted by: Rick Monson